Bernese Oberland: Going the Extra Miles
As a small group of five, myself included as the guide, we followed our classic itinerary for this Swiss Alps trip from Schwarzwaldalp to Mürren with overnights in Grindelwald, Wengen, and Mürren along the way. Three days of the tour linked up these vibrant villages, crossing the Grosse Scheidegg from Schwarzwaldalp to arrive in Grindelwald, taking the classic Eiger Trail to arrive in Wengen, and marveling at nature’s work as we ran through the Lauterbrunnen valley to reach Mürren. Our other runs were loops from our base town.
All in all the weather was kind to us considering the dismal forecast at the start of the trip. We only faced a few brief showers while on the trail, and the unsettled weather brought cool and comfortable temperatures for running. Intermittent cloud cover often added drama to the views, as well as a little excitement as to whether we’d reach our hotel before the next storms rolled in.
Most days featured at least some sunshine and unadulterated views, including our afternoon run to Schynige Platte, our traverse of the Eiger Trail and Kleine Scheidegg, and our final day on the trails above Mürren. These runs inevitably ended up being the favorites.
Highlight on the trail
The ultimate highlight was probably running on the Bryndli ridge and the Northface Trail on our last day of the tour. The grassy single track along the Bryndli ridge is like a mini Hardergrat (a famous ridge traverse in the same region) and the Northface Trail feels like it was made for running. Run the Alps’ Content Producer Kim Strom joined us to take photos, and this added to the fun – a new person to chat with and the incentive to pick up those tired legs to look lively for the pics!
On the flip side, the morning of our run from Wengen to Mürren found everybody needing to dig deep into the physical and mental energy reserves to get through the rainy weather and some muscle soreness. Despite the impressive display of dozens of waterfalls cascading down the steep cliffs of the Lauterbrunnen valley, this was collectively the hardest moment of the trip. Luckily for us, Schwarz Mönch beer was waiting at the pub in Gimmelwald. Tall glasses of dark lager combined with the appearance of the sun, a hearty lunch of nachos, burgers, and paninis turned things around!
Best meal of the tour
Speaking of food, it’s difficult to pin down our favorite lunch or dinner as everything was delicious. Chris seemed determined to test every tart available en route – apricot, apple, blueberry or raspberry. Finally we both agreed the very first apricot tart at the Waldspitz, washed down with views of the Eiger, was the best. Virginia was equally keen to sample every Swiss cheese, and of course I felt it was polite to accompany her on this quest! The four-course dinners at the Hotel Eiger in Mürren were hard to rival, but my favorite dinner was probably an impromptu stop in Grindelwald, where our post-run drink stop on the terrace of the Hotel Pinte turned into an early dinner of Swiss specialities – fondu, bratwurst, and rösti.
A funny and memorable moment came as we congratulated ourselves for arriving at the peaceful Suppenalp restaurant for an early lunch. No sooner had we settled in to enjoy the Jungfrau views than we were surrounded by a large group of American school kids on a hike up from Mürren. We all had to chuckle as one youngster mourned that his expensive white sneakers were covered in fresh cow dung. Their shrieks and TikTok poses jarred with the sound of cowbells, but kept us rather amused for a while. We finished up our coffees, soups and sandwiches, and left the din in search of renewed zen on the trail.
Most memorable non-trail moment
Seeing some animals throughout the tour was a treat for everybody. Cowbells provided the soundtrack for the week and I think we saw nearly every variety of cow, sheep, and goat beside, or sometimes blocking, the trail. Jon had a closer encounter than he bargained for when a curious cow licked his phone while he was taking a picture.
Everyone was keen to get the most out of their time in the Bernese Oberland, and this translated into running bonus miles, climbing many feet, consuming much cheese, and munching many Moon Valley bars. It was Chris and Virginia’s first time to the Alps, and I loved being part of their wonder as they discovered the sights, tastes, culture and trails for the very first time. Jon impressed me with his endurance and kept me entertained with his wry humor. Monica was equally impressive with her enthusiasm to discover and run every trail in the Alps. We had a great group, and the Bernese Oberland sure didn’t disappoint!
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Headed out of Mürren for the Bryndli ridge.(Photo: Kim Strom)
Jon enjoying a stretch of smooth singletrack. (Photo: Kim Strom)
Bernese Oberland uphills. (Photo: Kim Strom)
Which way to head next… (Photo: Kim Strom)
Made our way to the Bryndli ridge. (Photo: Kim Strom)
Moving along the Bryndli ridge with a huge rocky backdrop. (Photo: Kim Strom)
It’s not only up. (Photo: Kim Strom)
The view are good in both directions, but it’s hard to beat the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau line up. (Photo: Kim Strom)
Monica dropping fast! (Photo: Kim Strom)
Lunch at Suppenalp. (Photo: Kim Strom)
More cruising through the Bernese Oberland. (Photo: Kim Strom)
How about that trail? (Photo: Kim Strom)
After several days of suspense, Bruno finally share the lore of the three peaks. (Photo: Kim Strom)
And then these two took off on Bruno’s famous “bonus miles.” (Photo: Kim Strom)